I started Philippians today. This is what jumped out at me in chapter 1.
9-11 "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God."
I always thought the love it was referring to was my love for God. But when I read it in the Message today, I got something totally different out of it.
"... not only love much, but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life... making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God."
So I need to learn how to love people! It doesn't come naturally. I have to learn how to love people as individuals, meting them where they are. One size doesn't fit all. People don't need to be loved the same way. I have to use my brain to figure out how best to love each person. And when I love people sincerely, on their terms so they feel and see the love, it makes Jesus attractive to them! I want to be filled with the fruit of righteousness! I want to have a pure heart so that God can work freely in me to help and love people! When I am not seeking righteousness, then I am not loving and serving people with the right attitude, motives or with God's power and strength. No wonder its hard sometimes! My sin and selfishness keep me from being able to love people in God's perfect way. I want to live a lover's life! Help me Lord!